I love Orange is the New Black. Like straight up, no bullshit LOVE IT.
I read the book a few months ago, having watched all of season one in a matter of hours when it was released and I wanted more, I had to know more!
Turns out the book was not the place to go, it’s a rather dull book that basically tells the story of a well off white woman who goes to prison and fuck all happens. I wouldn’t recommend it.
It just goes to show how brilliant the show is. How brilliant Jenji Kohan is and the team of writers behind OITNB are.
They have taken the characters Piper met in prison and turned them into the fully fleshed characters we see in the show. No two women are the same, no one is a victim (which I think is really important to bear in mind as you watch. It’s too easy and so lazy to create female victim styled backgrounds).
Everyone has their purpose and unique back story.
The main cast of OITNB is female, which is in and of itself an achievement considering it’s not promoted as chicktv. This aint yo grannies prison drama!
But you know this already right? You’ve been watching right?
So, I’m not going to review the series, I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who’s not up to date. What I’m going to do is talk about a couple of the characters, the characters that really stand out to me. Although to be fair, I love them all. Characters like Sam Healy, the uptight misogynistic, homophobic correctional officer.
It’s easy to hate this character, he’s a massive douche BUT but it’s cleverly written, he isn’t just a character for you to hate on and think no more about. He is a complex character.
What OITNB is doing is showing you how attitudes like his are born. His Russian wife rejects him despite him really trying to connect with her, he is surrounded by strong women who constantly remind him that despite being in prison, they have a better handle on life than him.
The hatred that’s simmering under the surface comes from a place of shame, he’s trying to be a good man, a good husband, a good correctional officer and social worker but he’s failing.
It’s going to be interesting to see where Healy goes in the next season, will he become the raging nutcase he is just on the edge of or will we see a turn around?
Suzanne Warren aka Crazy Eyes
If you know me personally you’ll know how much I love Crazy Eyes. A friend and I created the Best of Crazy Eyes You Tube video, which I am actually really proud of but that’s beside the point.
Suzanne is such a brilliant character, she is a complicated woman and I love that.
Again, it could have been so easy to have a typically ‘crazy’ person with no real depth and no regard for the portrayal of mental illness but again the writers have done a brilliant job of showing how complex mental illness can be.
Uzo Aduba brings a certain dignity to the role, which might be a strange thing to say considering we saw her piss on the floor of Pipers cubical, marking her territory in season one. Suzanne is truly a tortured soul but when the torment hasn’t gripped her, she is this beautiful, articulate, warm and fiercely intelligent woman.
I liked seeing more of her back story in this latest season – I want more!
Yvonne “Vee” Parker
AKA Almond Joy in Hudson Hawk (yes I’ve seen Hudson Hawk, yes I like Hudson Hawk – we all have our guilty pleasures)
Vee is this seasons villain (played by Lorraine Toussaint) Pennsatucky did a good job at being the girl we love to hate in season one but Pennsatucky has now turned a new leaf – or has she?? So the title of Queen Bitch goes to Vee the new inmate.
Vee has history with Taystee and slowly throughout the season Vee asserts her dominance in the prison, this aint her first time at the rodeo!
Without giving away anything I want to make note that Vee’s relationship with Crazy eyes was heartbreaking, the manipulation of Crazy Eyes really upset me – in a good way. TV should make you feel and OITNB does that in spades.
Special mention – Lori Petty!
I was so excited when I saw Lori Petty in the first episode of the second season but sadly she didn’t appear in any other episodes. I’m hoping we might get her back in the third season which has been given the green light.
So, that’s what I have to say about season two of Orange is the New Black. No doubt I’ll have forgotten something and may come back up update this. I’m going to watch all the episodes again, as I really blitzed through the first time around. It’s just so addictive. Now, if you haven’t already GET WATCHING!
The Final Girl